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The God Who Hears

“… I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1: 15

Hannah longed for a child. She loved her husband, Elkanah, and the Bible tells us that he deeply loved her as well. In fact, when portions were handed out, he would often give Hannah double what the others received. The greatest honor a woman could possess at that time – in that culture – was the privilege of carrying a child; to know that she had been a part of continuing the lineage of her husband. And to know that their child would be a child of love? What could be sweeter?

Peninnah, Elkanah’s second wife had blessed their home with soft baby skin and toddler’s giggles – with the hope of a future beyond them – again and again and again. She had provided him legacy and yet watched as her husband gave the double portion to Hannah instead. Should she not have received? Had she not proven her worth? What did Hannah give Elkanah that Peninnah did not? The Bible tells us in verse six that she saw Hannah as a “rival” and “provoked her grievously.” She pointed fingers at her barren womb and laughed. How could she?

I have often read this portion of scripture and painted Hannah the heroine and Peninnah the villain and yet…was she not just a wife who longed to be loved by her husband? A woman so consumed in her own pain, she did not think about the pain that others may be going through?

In verse eight, Elkanah asks, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” It wasn’t only Hannah who wept. It wasn’t only Peninnah who longed to be loved. Elkanah had done all that he could to please his wife, the love of his life, and yet still watched her, year after year, fall deeper into her grief. He missed her smile and no matter how much he wanted to, he couldn’t fix this.

Wrapped in their sorrow, Hannah, Peninnah, and Elkanah came to the city to worship and sacrifice as they did every year. After their meal, Hannah went to the temple. Verse 11 says that she was “deeply distressed” as she cried out to the Lord. “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction (the cause of the pain) of your servant and remember be and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son…”

As she prayed in silence, Eli the priest watched. Was she drunk? What was the cause of her hysterics? Why would she act this way in such a hallowed place? Questioning her, Eli asks, “Are you drunk?” Hannah’s response ends with these words, “…I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord (verse 15).”

When is the last time you “poured out” your soul before the Lord?

Do you know He will listen?

Do you know…He can take it?

All of it. No matter what.

Read on and you will find that not only did God hear Hannah’s silent cry, he also promised her a child. That promise was all she needed. Verse 18 says that Hannah left the temple “and her face was no longer sad.” The promise was enough. Knowing God heard was enough. It was everything to Hannah.

When her child is born, she gives him the name “Samuel.” The meaning of the name, you ask? God has heard.

God has heard…

He heard Hannah and He will hear you.

Let it out.

Say what needs to be said.

Shout it.

Whisper it.

Scream it.

Don’t worry about saying it “right.”

The “right” thing is just to … say it.

And then watch as He responds.

Cast your cares on the Lord for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).”

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer… (1 Peter 3:12).”


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